Oct 19, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley (32) tips the ball in the air as he breaks up a pass intended for Arkansas Razorbacks tight end Hunter Henry (84) during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6) intercepted the tipped pass. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
#1 – Houston Texans – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville
Case Keenum was a nice experiment but he is not a starting quarterback in the pros. Teddy Bridgewater is. The Houston Texans need to fill that position badly, and the junior is the most physically and mentally gifted in his class.
#2 – St. Louis Rams (from WSH) – Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M
The injury to Jake Long may have drastically shifted priorities for the St. Louis Rams. Offensive line was a need in 2014. Now it’s essential. So they use their first of two picks in the round to take Jake Matthews, who is a polished prodigy built to play in the pros.
#3 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State
Sporting a defensive mindset under Gus Bradley, the Jacksonville Jaguars will need a brash, outspoken quarterback to lead the offense. Despite his recent dropoff, Derek Carr has plenty of physical ability and a mature mindset to the work it will take to get better.
#4 – Oakland Raiders – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
Defense is an obvious priority for the Oakland Raiders. They could take a quarterback here, but not with Jadeveon Clowney still on the board. The South Carolina product is way too talented to pass on as he is a potential cornerstone for the next decade.
#5 – Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles – QB – UCF
It might seem like a reach taking a smaller program quarterback this early, but Blake Bortles has flashed loads of potential out of UCF. The Cleveland Browns have an offensive coaching staff loaded with quarterback tutors ready to develop him.
#6 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA
They do a lot of things well but the key ingredient missing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a pass rush. Until they get one, their talented secondary can’t be fully utilized. Anthony Barr is a dynamic athlete with a nose for the ball and loads of pass rush potential.
#7 – Atlanta Falcons – Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama
Matt Ryan has never had a bookend protector on his blindside since he entered the league. If the Atlanta Falcons want him to carry the team, he will need one. Cyrus Kouandjio is still rough around the edges, but is also a physical specimen with all the tools to anchor at left tackle.
#8 – Minnesota Vikings – Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M
Yes, it’s a controversial pick but also one that makes sense. Johnny Manziel is a top ten quarterback despite questions of his height and arm strength. The Minnesota Vikings need a difference-maker at that position. Nobody makes plays quite like he does.
#9 – Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack – OLB – Buffalo
Not only is it a popular pick among other mock drafts, it’s one that makes sense. A hometown product, Khalil Mack is well known to Buffalo Bills fans. He can do everything at the linebacker position from coverage to rushing the passer. The Bills need all of that.
#10 – Tennessee Titans – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Alabama
A torn ACL really hurt the draft stock of free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but rest assured it will begin to recover during the pre-draft workouts. He is the best safety by far in the 2014 class and the Tennessee Titans need one to protect the back end of their defense.
#11 – New York Giants – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan State
The addition of Jon Beason was huge for the New York Giants defense but they still need help in the secondary. Darqueze Dennard is a lanky, athletic corner from MichiganState who thrives in press coverage and is known for his obsessive work habits and effort.
#12 – Detroit Lions – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson
Megatron has largely been a one-man show for the Detroit Lions since he was drafted. The team has to get a consistent second option to take the heat off. Fans and coaches count their lucky stars that the explosive Sammy Watkins ends up in town.
#13 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
Offensive line is another obvious choice but the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is declining in a hurry. They need more help, particularly in the secondary. Justin Gilbert is a tailor-made 3-4 corner, big and fast enough to play tight man coverage with the instinct to go after the ball.
#14 – New York Jets – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
Rex Ryan is on his way out. Could Geno Smith join him? It’s hard seeing the New York Jets give up on him that fast, especially since he’s not very well armed. So they go get him help. Marqise Lee is fast, agile and plays the receiver position like a technician.
#15 – St. Louis Rams – Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M
If Sam Bradford is their guy, the St. Louis Rams must jump at every opportunity to help him reach that next level. Having gotten him protection, they now turn to adding another target. Mike Evans is huge at 6’5″ and retains enough speed to separate from corners. Coupled with explosive leaping ability, he is almost a machine during contested catches.
#16 – Green Bay Packers – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – CB – Oregon
The offense seems to be getting along just fine without Jermichael Finley. On the other hand their pass defense could use more help. Though he’s third coming off the board, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is an explosive corner who can make quarterbacks pay if they attack him too often.
#17 – Baltimore Ravens – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
With the receiver run earlier, the Baltimore Ravens shift their focus to giving Joe Flacco better protection. Taylor Lewan is a high value pickup at 17th. An experienced starter at Michigan, he boasts the size, strength and technique to play left tackle against the best.
#18 – Dallas Cowboys – Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
It doesn’t matter where they start, the Dallas Cowboys need help at every defensive position. Line is as good a place to start as any. Stephon Tuitt is a big, strong and surprisingly athletic end out of Notre Dame with enough speed to play multiple positions in multiple fronts.
#19 – San Diego Chargers – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech
Antonio Gates has been a model of consistency for the San Diego Chargers. However, the Pro Bowler turns 34 next year. The Bolts have to think about investing in the position and they have a terrific option in Jace Amaro who boasts size, speed and soft hands to become favorite target for Philip Rivers.
#20 – Arizona Cardinals – Cameron Erving – OT – Florida State
Jonathan Cooper returns next year. It would be nice if the Arizona Cardinals could add some more beef next to him to bolster their offensive line. Cameron Erving is still a work-in-progress technique-wise, but his athleticism and nasty streak make him a potential steal.
#21 – Chicago Bears – C.J. Mosley – ILB – Alabama
Speaking of a steal. Several experts would be surprised to see C.J. Mosley fall into the 20s, but according to this 2014 NFL mock draft, he does. The Chicago Bears certainly won’t complain. The Alabama star is a team leader and a playmaker who understands the game and does everything from coverage to tackling and does it well.
#22 – Miami Dolphins – David Yankey – OG – Stanford
It doesn’t matter where the renovation begins on the Miami Dolphins offensive line, but it has to begin somewhere. With the tackles depleted, they instead take guard David Yankey out of Stanford. Ironically from the same school as Jonathan Martin, Yankey is an anchor for the Cardinal who led one of the best offensives lines in college football.
#23 – Philadelphia Eagles – Vic Beasley – DE – Clemson
Adding another pass rusher could only help the Philadelphia Eagles to continue building their defense. Vic Beasley plays defensive end at Clemson but has the body of an outside linebacker, not to mention the speed and explosion off the snap. He can create problems with his ability to change directions and use an effective bull rush.
#24 – Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
Though they’ve taken some hits in the secondary of late, the Cincinnati Bengals could really use an athletic upgrade at linebacker to accompany Vontaze Burfict. Ryan Shazier is a wicked fast kid from OhioState who is a vacuum tackler that flies sideline to sideline and also drops back into coverage to flood passing lanes.
#25 – Cleveland Browns (from IND) – Cyril Richardson – OG – Baylor
Having gotten their quarterback, the Cleveland Browns seek to ensure he’s protected. Beefing up the guard position to help Joe Thomas and Alex Mack would be ideal. Cyril Richardson is a mass of humanity out of Baylor with surprisingly nimble feet. He’s great in pass protection but at his best when run blocking, something else the Browns need help with.
#26 – New Orleans Saints – Kyle Van Noy – OLB – BYU
Everybody thinks that outside linebacker always have to be pass rushers in a 3-4 defense. That is not the case. What the New Orleans Saints need are players who can do other things besides that. Kyle Van Noy is not a great rusher, but his instincts and athleticism allow him to diagnose offenses quickly and make plays on the ball.
#27 – San Francisco 49ers – Trent Murphy – DE – Stanford
Justin Smith is reaching his mid-30s and the San Francisco 49ers defensive line has not looked great without him. Finding another player to help on the interior pass rush would be ideal. Trent Murphy leads the nation in sacks and is much like Smith. He’s not very athletic but he is powerful, relentless and adept at finding ways into the backfield.
#28 – Kansas City Chiefs – DeVante Parker – WR – Louisville
Finding another offensive weapon not named Jamaal Charles would be a major priority for the Kansas City Chiefs. His numbers may not reflect it, but DeVante Parker is a big receiver with deep threat capability. He can become a reliable, go-to target for Alex Smith and present a nice target in the red zone.
#29 – New England Patriots – Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
The future of Rob Gronkowski is very much unclear after yet another season-ending injury, this time to his knee. With Aaron Hernandez gone, the tight end cupboard is running dry for Tom Brady. So the New England Patriots bring in reinforcements with the big, athletic and soft-handed Eric Ebron out of North Carolina.
#30 – Carolina Panthers – Donte Moncrief – WR – Ole Miss
Another receiver that hasn’t gotten lots of attention lately but can’t hide his skill is Donte Moncrief out of Ole Miss. He’s not elite level fast, but large frame and developed route running have made him a huge problem for defensive backs in the SEC. The Carolina Panthers need more help for Cam Newton, and Moncrief would provide it.
#31 – Denver Broncos – Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota
Von Miller going out will only magnify the problems up front for the Denver Broncos defense. They need to find a way to generate more push on the pocket. Ra’Shede Hageman is an athletic marvel at defensive tackle, possessing both the size, speed and power necessary to drive offensive linemen into the lap of the quarterback.
#32 – Seattle Seahawks – Jordan Matthews – WR – Vanderbilt
The trade for Percy Harvin is looking more and more like a bad decision for the Seattle Seahawks, and with Sidney Rice also a question mark they need help at receiver. Jordan Matthews is not a beat-all athlete but his understanding of the technical aspects of the position coupled with a big body and great hands has made him highly successful anyway.